February 7th, 2011
Proverbs 21:20, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
Matthew 6:11-12, “Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
I would estimate well over 1000 people in the Miami Valley have participated in AdvoCare’s 24 Day Challenge over the past 8 months. The 24 Day Challenge is a weight management program that combines pharmaceutical grade nutritional products with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. The goal of the 24 Day Challenge is to create new health and wellness habits while losing weight and gaining more energy. (See my AdvoCare link on my homepage)
This blog is about another type of “weight” and when left unattended can cause more problems in our life than fat. The weight I am talking about is debt. We live in a society where debt continues to weigh us down in more ways than one.
First of all, financial debt is a huge burden and should be avoided at all “costs.” The only reasonable justification of debt is when it is being placed towards an asset that you confidentally know will grow in value. A house, when paid for at a reasonable price with a reasonable down payment is a pretty solid asset (at least it used to be prior to the 2008 real estate collapse). Debt incurred for a college education that will be paid off through gainful employment because of the college education is debt that turns into an asset. Debt incurred for things that lose value is another story. I know people who drive automobiles that cost more than they make in a year’s salary. I know people with 6 digit incomes who live paycheck to paycheck because of the habit of spending beyond their means. Carrying this type of debt can become a huge burden and can weigh us down and zap us of our energy. The key is to be “wise” with your money and spend less than you make. In the Proverb above, Solomon does not mince words when he says “but a foolish man devours all he has.” (This Proverb was written well before credit cards, imagine what Solomon would say about those of us who “devour more than we have.?)
The second type of debt that often weighs heavy on us is the debt Jesus refers to when he teaches us how to pray The Lord’s Prayer in the 6th chapter of Matthew. This debt comes in the form of our own sinful thoughts, words and deeds. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus says “Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts.” Which means we are actively pursuing Jesus (the bread) to come into our lives and with Jesus our debts (sins) will be forgiven if we ask for them to be. Ongoing repentence is a great way to ease the burden of this type of debt/weight. Sometimes it takes more than a “dear God forgive me” when other people are involved, as God may call you to make direct amends to those you have harmed. (Steps 8 & 9, from Alcoholics Anonymous)
The third type of debt is the debt (sin) others have directed at us. It could be in the form of harmful words or actions. There seems to be alot of this going on these days as envy, jealousy and anger are all quite prevelent in our society. If you read Jesus’ words he states in a matter of fact manner “Fogive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” If you read these words slowly you will see that Jesus is basically saying we must first forgive our debtors (those who sin against us) before we can expect to be forgiven. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have, forgiven our debtors. At the very least Jesus expects us to forgive others and ask for forgiveness simultaneously. Most of us don’t have a problem with asking God to forgive us of our sins/debts but forgiving others’ for the sins/debts they have committed toward us in another story and is one reason why there are so many miserable self-righteous religious people…just my opinion. As a recovering addict and alcoholic, I know resentments are a toxic poison and must be dealt with immediately as they will weigh our lives down significantly more than 200 pounds of fat.
So if you are looking for a way to lose a “ton” of weight without dieting, exercising and utilizing nutritional supplements, try doing “God’s 24/7 Challenge” and:
1. Spend–less than you earn.
2. Seek forgiveness–even though you’ve not earned it.
3. Forgive–more than you believe others have earned.
Life becomes much lighter when we try our best to avoid the weight of debt.